iPhone Basics: Getting Started with the iPhone

Lesson 3: Getting Started with the iPhone


Getting started with the iPhone

Once you have an iPhone, your next step should be learning about the physical features of the device and the accessories that came with it. This includes the different buttons and ports, how to turn the device on and off, how to charge the battery, and the importance of protecting the device.

Watch the video below to learn the basics of using an iPhone.

Device and accessories

The iPhone currently comes with the following accessories:

  • USB cable (for connecting to your computer, as well as the power adapter)
  • USB power adapter (for charging the battery)
  • Earpods (headphones) with microphone and remote (for hands-free calling, listening to music, and volume control)
  • A Lightning to 3.5-mm headphone jack adapter (newer iPhones no longer have a headphone jack)
  • Documentation (including warranty)

Getting started

The first time you turn on your iPhone, you'll be asked to choose a few settings, like your preferred language, a Wi-Fi network, and your Apple ID. If you don't want to choose all of these settings, you can always skip them for now and change them later.

To sleep and wake the iPhone:

When you're ready to use the iPhone, you'll need to wake it. Newer phones will wake automatically when you pick them up. If you're using an iPhone 6 or older, you can press the Home button to wake it. The Lock screen will appear. From here, there are two options for unlocking your iPhone:

  • Passcode: You can unlock your iPhone using the numeric passcode you chose when you first set up your iPhone. Simply press the Home button again and enter your passcode.
  • Touch ID: This is a feature available for the iPhone 5S through the iPhone 8 Plus that scans your fingerprint as a means of unlocking your iPhone. After waking your iPhone, simply place your finger or thumb on the Home button and your iPhone will unlock. For more information on setting up and using Touch ID, review our lesson on Security and General Settings.
  • Face ID: This feature unlocks the iPhone by using its camera to scan your face. After waking your iPhone, simply hold it in front of your face and it will unlock after scanning. It's important to note that Face ID is only available with the iPhone X and later models. 

When you're done using the iPhone, press the Sleep/Wake button to put it in Sleep mode. This will turn off the screen and help save battery life. The iPhone will go to Sleep mode automatically if you don't use it for more than a few minutes.

To turn the iPhone on and off:

Most of the time, you won't need to turn your iPhone off. You can just use the Sleep/Wake button to keep your iPhone in Sleep mode. But if you need to turn it off completely (for example, on an airplane), press and hold the Sleep/Wake button for several seconds, then slide to power off.

To turn the iPhone on, press and hold the Sleep/Wake button until the Apple logo appears. It may take a few minutes to turn on completely.

Charging the battery

The battery on your device should last for about 10 hours of normal use. When it's low, you'll need to charge it. There are three ways to charge the battery:

  • Connect your iPhone to your computer with the included USB cable. Just plug one end into the USB cable connector and the other into any USB port on your computer.
  • Charge your iPhone anywhere with the included power adapter. To use it, plug the adapter into a power outlet, then connect the iPhone using the USB cable.
  • Charge your iPhone with a wireless charger. Plug the wireless charger into a power outlet and simply place your phone on top of it. This is only available for the iPhone 8 and later models.

Care and protection

Although you can use an iPhone without a case, it's a good idea to purchase a case to prevent the body and screen from breaking if dropped. You can also buy a transparent screen protector to protect against scratches, but this is usually unnecessary because the iPhone is built with scratch-resistant glass.

The Apple Store has a variety of options to choose from. If you're not interested in the cases from in the Apple Store, don't worry—you can find hundreds of alternatives if you search online or in stores. No matter what you choose, a good case will go a long way toward protecting your device so you can enjoy it for years to come.

You should also make sure to have a soft, lint-free cloth for wiping fingerprints and smudges off the screen. Never use household cleaners, alcohol, or other abrasives.


Your iPhone can connect to the Internet via your cellular data plan (3G/4G or LTE) and through Wi-Fi. So what's the difference? Most cellular data plans only give you a limited amount of data per month, but you can use as much Wi-Fi as you want without using any of your cellular data.

If you have a home Internet connection, you can set your iPhone to connect to it whenever you're home. You could also connect to others' Internet connections when you visit them. You'll just need to type their Wi-Fi passwords the first time you connect.

To turn Wi-Fi on or off:

  1. Tap the Settings icon on the Home screen.
  2. The Settings will appear. Tap Wi-Fi.
  3. Next to Wi-Fi, tap the control to turn it on or off.

You can also use the Control Center to turn Wi-Fi on or off. Simply swipe up from the bottom of your screen at any time to access the Control Center, then tap the Wi-Fi icon to turn it on or off.

Joining networks

To join a network that's in range (for example, your home's Wi-Fi or a nearby public hotspot), look for it under Choose a Network. Then tap the network you want to use. If the network is secure, you'll need to enter a password to connect to it.

If the network isn't secure, you can connect to it without a password, but you should think carefully before you do (especially if it's a public hotspot, like Wi-Fi at your local coffee shop). Anything you view or share over an unsecured network is not necessarily safe from prying eyes.

If the network doesn't appear on the list, it may be out of range or it may be closed (in other words, hidden). To join a closed network, tap Other, then follow the steps to connect to it. You'll need to know the name of the network, the security setting, and the password.

Screenshot of the iPhone

Apple ID

If you've already turned on your iPhone, you know that an Apple ID is part of the setup process. But what else does it do?

In short, an Apple ID is a simple user name and password. It doesn't cost anything to create one, but it's an important part of the iPhone experience. Not only is your identity on your device, but it's also your gateway to other Apple services like the App Store, iCloud, select built-in apps, and much more. The more you use your iPhone, the more you'll understand how prevalent the Apple ID is.

If you don't have an Apple ID yet, there will be plenty of opportunities for you to create one when you set up your device. You can also sign up online.